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Special Areas of Conservation

Magheraveely Marl Loughs

Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Country Northern Ireland
Unitary Authority Northern Ireland
Centroid* H478269
Latitude 54.1892
Longitude -7.2667
SAC EU Code UK0016621
Status Designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
Area (ha) 58.89
* This is the approximate central point of the SAC. In the case of large, linear or composite sites, this may not represent the location where a feature occurs within the SAC.
Location of Magheraveely Marl Loughs SAC

General site character

  • Inland water bodies (Standing water, Running water) (24%)
  • Bogs, Marshes, Water fringed vegetation, Fens (19.5%)
  • Heath, Scrub, Maquis and Garrigue, Phygrana (3.5%)
  • Dry grassland, Steppes (1.5%)
  • Humid grassland, Mesophile grassland (31%)
  • Improved grassland (1%)
  • Broad-leaved deciduous woodland (17.7%)
  • Non-forest areas cultivated with woody plants (including Orchards, groves, Vineyards, Dehesas) (1.5%)
  • Other land (including Towns, Villages, Roads, Waste places, Mines, Industrial sites) (0.3%)

Download the Standard Data Form for this site (PDF <100kb)

Note When undertaking an appropriate assessment of impacts at a site, all features of European importance (both primary and non-primary) need to be considered.

Annex I habitats that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • These six loughs are small inter-drumlin marl lakes fed by lime-rich water. They are examples of lakes on a predominantly limestone substrate. In comparison with other lakes in this part of Northern Ireland, this site is important because the water has not been influenced by nutrient enrichment and remains clear, with a high lime content and low plant nutrient content. Stoneworts are the dominant submerged vegetation and include several rare and local species, including Chara aspera, C. curta, C. hispida and C. pedunculata.

  • Magheraveely Marl Loughs consists of a cluster of six low-lying lakes in the catchment of the River Finn in Northern Ireland. These occur over an area of Carboniferous limestone bedrock. The lakes are surrounded by an inundation zone containing significant stands of alkaline fen vegetation. This is generally composed of a sward that is very rich in sedges and herbs. Characteristic species include the sedges lesser tussock-sedge Carex diandra, long-stalked yellow sedge C. viridula ssp. brachyrrhyncha and glaucous sedge C. flacca. Other frequent species include marsh arrowgrass Triglochin palustre, quaking-grass Briza media and more notably, marsh helleborine Epipactis palustris, grass-of-Parnassus Parnassia palustris, knotted pearlwort Sagina nodosa and fen bedstraw Galium uliginosum. The latter are all scarce species in Northern Ireland.

Annex I habitats present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for selection of this site

Annex II species that are a primary reason for selection of this site

  • 1092 White-clawed (or Atlantic stream) crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes

    These four marl loughs in Northern Ireland have strong isolated populations of white-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes. This site has been selected because of its hydrological isolation and the absence of crayfish plague from Northern Ireland.

Annex II species present as a qualifying feature, but not a primary reason for site selection

  • Not Applicable

Many designated sites are on private land: the listing of a site in these pages does not imply any right of public access.